Sorting Pains

As a child, I never sorted my LEGO bricks. They existed in a glorious jumble making a second carpet in my room and frustrating my mother’s attempts to hoover.

I had enough bricks to have made sorting them a good idea, but somehow the idea just never occurred to me.

Now that I’m grown, and have to build around things like a day job, sorting seems a lot more urgent.

My personal instinct would be to sort mostly by shape and connectivity. All the clip-bearing elements together. All the ball joints together. All the hinges together. All the wheels, wheel-bearing elements and rotors together. All the minifigures and their tools together and so on. Bricks of all colours together, because it’s much easier to sort through a pile of 1×1 round bricks for a black one than it is to sort through a pile of black bricks for a 1×1 round one.

My life is being complicated, however, by a 4-year-old son who treats a LEGO model like a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle, and a wife who doesn’t do LEGO.

My other kids are more like I was as a child: they want to build their own thing. My son does 200-piece jigsaw puzzles by himself. To him, a LEGO set is an exercise in Following The Instructions to put together the puzzle… over and over again.

Basically, he wants to build what’s on the box. And my wife, who is at home with him all day and who doesn’t build (and doesn’t like all the tiny fiddly elements) wants to bag up the pieces by the set they belong to.

I love my wife and I don’t want her to be frustrated having to keep on helping him find this or that piece that he’s looking for to build the dragon, or the monkey, or the logging truck or whatever. But while putting all the pieces of one set together will help with his particular style of building, it’s going to frustrate the ever-living crap out of me.

But I’m not there as much. My son is.

Still… No. Please?

I think that if the pieces are sorted effectively into their various types, he’ll get the idea pretty quick, and it’s surely much easier than trying to remember which set had a 1×2 by 2×2 descending new-style angle bracket to replace the Lost Piece from the Rainforest Creatures set.

We’ll try it my way first.


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